still birth

I dreamt of a child

walking on ice
wild flowers in hand.
It apologised for its
brevity
saying it only needed the
touch of love
not it all.
Saying there were
too many
flowers
which needed picking.
Saying one day
she would braid
my hair
with them.

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the poem

Window seat: reading poetry.
Taxis are passing, people with sandwiches and a girl in velvet.
Recently I’ve only had mind for poetry.
Novels are too much, as is the underground
and the look in the eye
as they hand back the change
or have known you in many ways

Maybe it’s
the overloading
of it
all
and something
crawling from under the distractions of
self
asking for just enough
of the right words
to cup in the palm
to swallow

Busy Men

I’m gunna be a busy man
Like the busy men you see being busy on BBC
But not a bad busy man
I’ll do good things with my busy words
I’ll be the busy man to help the un-busy people

He’s back
Slouched in chair, Tiger in hand
He’s flicking
TV clicking
He’s the king
With his Tesco mobile ring

Ma’s in the car
Orange, red, white
White, red, orange
The tiger’s eyes beaming
The garage cage gleaming
TJ’s car’s round the corner
Ma won’t know he’s back

Click, click, lock in key
Thud, thud, boots off
Tesco bags ruffle
She stops, just before the TV light, so she’s
Hidden
She can sense it:
Boots still on
Fizzle of a can
King to her princess

Ma tucks me in
Every light off
‘Read me a rhyme’
‘Not tonight little man’
‘Come on Ma, come on’
‘Ma’s got’a make TJ some chicken’
TJ, T-J
Closing door, then, just head
‘Did you let him in?’
‘Sorry Ma.’
Bang, ring, silence
Hidden

Resonating ringing
Circling screaming
Sudden smash
Bone in crash
Teddy safe, pillow clinging

Ma’s eye’s gone black
Not brown black
Black black
My eggs are all wrong

TJ’s phone’s on the table
His jacket on the chair
There’s a dirty plantain plate sinking
He’s staying, this time

Swing-ing, swing-ing, smack
Smack, smack, swing
Swing-ing, swing-ing
Crack
Stick’s broken

TJ, T-J
Why don’t I call him Pa?

Ma says you got’a be a brave man
A brave busy man
You got’a say when it’s not right
You got’a say, or things’ll never be right
Just like cleaning the dirty egg pan

Maybe the chicken boiled

It’s five, the sun’s up but the pillow’s up
I got some chicken rice n’ peas
Ma says I got’a stay in my room tonight
Read the rhymes
Read ‘em quiet

TJ’s voice is loud
Boom, boom, booming
Ma’s voice’s screeching
Screech, screech, screeching
TJ’s voice is louder
TJ’s voice wins this battle of beats
Beat, beat, beat
Beat, beat, beat
Black and red

Red and black
Like that plane last night
Black and red
Red and black
Like her last night

Dribble, dribble, dab
Dab, dab, dribble
Dribble, dribble
Drop
Ma’s leaking

I thought TJ would go last night
Ma thought TJ would go last night:
She didn’t make him any chicken
TJ didn’t go last night
TJ wants his throne

Tesco bags ruffle
In goes teddy, no pillow
PJ’s go in, no rhymes
‘Ma?’
‘Put your shoes on little man’
‘Ma?’
‘We’re just busy people and-‘
‘Busy people have busy places to be’
‘That’s it.’
Why do busy people have to run from lazy places?

Vroom, vroom, vroom
Ruffle, squish, ruffle
Click

TJ will have to make his own chicken
In our palace

Ma says he’s got to learn to be a busy man
Not a bad busy bag-o-wire
But a busy man
To help the un-busy people

lightning

I love you. Said the leaf on the windowsill caught
by the still light of air.
I love you. Screamed the chair facing the television
playing yankees v red sox

I love you. I love you. I love you.
God damn
it. can’t you hear how my shadow trips to tell you

Love is the mellow of sunlight which washes stars of their shine
and I to you
beam with it.

Bakerloo

She’d always known it would be you.
Known before she’d known what knowing was.
Born in some inaudible breath
something had noticed her;
written her name on a future
written her name on a name
a name she was only just hearing
now
here.
Under the Bakerloo sign directing to Waterloo.
Here.
Amidst faces leaving and coming and arriving and leaving was
you,
smiling on a breath for
you too knew it was you.

 

Kingston Minded

Your eyes roll back into a memory,
perhaps of papayas or women.
Something lightens in you
Flickers
Passes
And you’re back in the room staring at your soup.
It’s dribbled onto your napkin, tucked in like a bib
– I think to ask where you were –
It’s mushroom even though you never liked them.
Remember when you fed me bananas mashed with avocado
and told me I had my mother’s hair, and used the spoon to catch what fell on my chin,
look at us now.
Is it hard?
On some days, in some moments when I realise you may never return
yes
Yes
It is hard.
To see you in an M and S dressing gown by a grey window
because I know it’s not what you would have wanted,
Dreaming of women or papayas.
It makes you ask when enough is enough.
I show you photos taking any slight breath off beat as a sign.
I show them of people and places
all that you loved.
One Tuesday you said a name
I didn’t know, but nor did I recognise the face you pointed at.
You said the name, took the photo, held it for the rest of my visit,
but made no further comment.
These moments give something.
To you I am your father, your neighbour, your Aunt, your grandchild, the nurse that works weekends, your friend, people I’ve never heard of, but never your daughter.
How can you mistake me for so many people but me?
It’s okay as goodbyes were said back when the word held meaning;
Now syllables slip over you and from you
as you ferment on breathing.
I preferred it when you used to bite.
I use your name but as a sound rather than someone.
I don’t mean to reduce you
it’s just hard.
You have walked so far –
I keep trying to ask if there is anything you want done, anything you want said
Anything in you, anything.
I keep trying, but it gets to the point when it’s enough.
– you have walked so far out there’s no coming back.
It’s okay.

Time runs upon us.

Seeing you sit there
I smile,
imagine you Kingston minded

sucking papayas and dancing with women.